City officials released video footage Friday of a confrontation at City Hall between a sheriff’s cadet and Supervisor Shamann Walton, who allegedly threatened to fight the cadet and called him the N-word.
The June 24 confrontation between Walton—a Black man who serves as president of the Board of Supervisors—and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department cadet Emare Butler, also a Black man, began on the Friday morning of Pride weekend, as people gathered to enter City Hall through a security checkpoint.
Butler said he told Walton to remove his belt to get through a metal detector, which allegedly prompted Walton to fly into a rage. The cadet said the supervisor told him: “It’s n—s like you that look like me that’s always a problem.” The cadet also said Walton accused him of pulling “n— shit” and told him he would “whoop my ass.”
Video footage shows Walton enter the building around the 45-second mark and approach the security desk to remove items from his pockets. He waits behind a person who goes through the metal detector but appears to set it off. The person then comes back through the metal detector, removes a belt and then goes through another time before Walton—still wearing a belt—goes through the checkpoint with his arms raised over his head.
An exchange then ensues between Walton and the cadet, who is standing behind the security counter. The cadet picks up a phone on the desk and appears to make a call while Walton reaches for the basket holding his items. The cadet moves the basket out of his reach.
Walton then leans over and is clearly talking to his cadet, at times waving his arms. The cadet then goes out of view of the camera and someone out of sight continues to talk with Walton.
After more than two minutes, it appears the cadet comes back to the desk and moves Walton's items closer to where the supervisor is standing off camera.
The incident is now the subject of an investigation by the Department of Human Resources’ Equal Employment Opportunity division after Butler appealed HR Director Carol Isen’s decision that the incident had been “timely and appropriately addressed.” A report will be delivered to the Civil Services Commission and findings could be used in a potential civil lawsuit.
Butler told The Standard in a previous interview that he felt Walton was out of line for calling him the racial slur and using his status as an elected official to demean him. He also accused Walton of defaming him in comments published in the media.
In past statements, Walton has accused Butler and other cadets of repeatedly targeting him during security checks. Walton said the actions were part of a pattern of retaliation after he authored a ballot measure in 2020 to create a Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board. The board’s creation followed allegations of jail deputies using excessive force and pitting inmates against each other in gladiator-style fights.
City officials told The Standard that this is the first of two videos that captured the incident. A second video from a different angle is being edited to blur out the faces of members of the public. A records manager told The Standard that the city ”is not in possession of any audio recording of the interaction.”
Josh Koehn can be reached at [email protected]